2014: the wrap-up

2014This will, barring something truly exceptional happening, be my last post of 2014; it is 6:58 PM as I’m typing these words and I fully expect to be asleep by 11:30.  If I’m still up at midnight, it’ll be because I can’t sleep, not because I decided to be.  I am an Old now, and we don’t have to worry ’bout no new year any more.  I suspect it’ll get here whether I’m awake to see it or not.

Most of the interwebbery folks I pay attention to are fully ready to plant a boot in 2014’s ass as it heads out the door; I can sympathize, as little that was any good on any sort of wide scale has happened this year.  There were a few bright spots (gay marriage is now legal in more places than it is illegal, for one) but not many, and the evil and carnage particularly of the last couple of months kind of overshadow it.  Yeah, gay people can get married, but it’s basically legal to kill black people in large swaths of the countryespecially if you’re a cop.  That’s… not really a fair trade at all.

That said: personally?  Particularly since May or so?  This was the best year of my life.  There’s really no reasonable competition, and in fact I’m hard pressed to name what year #2 might have been.  2008, the year I married my wife?  2011, the year my son was born?  Okay, what was the second best thing that happened in either of those years?  I have no idea.  (Maybe buying our house in 2011.  2011’s got some chops.)

In 2014, my wife and I both received promotions and substantial raises.  I won a $10,000 grant that allowed me to take the summer off from work and dedicate it to writing.  I published two books and people paid me for them.  And I had another piece of writing published by someone else.  And those last two were lifelong firsts.  That’s a remarkable year even before you get to the part where my son is finally old enough to be fun.  And having this place around has been pretty cool, too.  Good shit’s been happening in my family, too; my brother just announced his engagement, and we’re going to my cousin’s wedding this weekend– technically a 2015 achievement, but close enough.  Yeah.  It was definitely a good year for us.

And 2015?

2015’s gonna be better.

Watch me now.

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2014: White House Year in Photos

I already Tweeted and Tumblrd (Tumblred?) one of these images, but man, the entire set is just amazing.  Check them out.

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 96,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

#Blogwanking for 2014: #WordPress and #Twitter

Usual caveats apply: I’m providing this information because I think it’s interesting and I know some of you like to read about it; I’m neither bragging nor whining, just providing my data, which will be better than some of you and not as good as others.  There will be one more 2014 wrap-up post sometime in the next few days where I break down all of my book sales for the year.  That one will be interesting as I don’t actually know what the numbers are going to look like just yet.  I haven’t actually tried to combine all of the spreadsheets Amazon’s given me into one place, much less combined all the places my books are available.

But unto the breach!  Here’s what my traffic has looked like so far:

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Sadly, the huge traffic surge in January and February has yet to repeat itself.  The low point in the year was in April, and traffic has been on an upswing since September.  I expect December to just barely edge November out, but not by much, since I’m not expecting much traffic on New Year’s Eve and the last few days were unsurprisingly very low-traffic.  Interesting things happen when I look at the bar graph, though:

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The highest number of visitors I’ve ever had was last month, at 3822, and this month is definitely going to be in second place for visitors overall by the time it’s done.  I blame the surge of visitors on the Snowpiercer post; compared to January and February I have more people looking at the blog but they’re not looking at nearly as many posts.  Historically I have a really high visitor to page view ratio; that’s been closing up lately as the Snowpiercer post attracts lots of visitors who don’t necessarily stick around.  February 2014 had a ridiculous 4:1 page view: visitor ratio, which I can only attribute to it being frozen and cold outside and no one being able to leave the house.

Here’s the geography data, which is always my favorite part.  First, the highest and lowest-visiting countries:

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The interesting surprise here is Puerto Rico; I don’t think I’d had any visitors from the island at the end of 2013 and it’s in the Top 10 for countries/geographical regions/whatchamacallems for 2014.  Here’s the map:

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Pretty well filled-in, I’d say.  The only countries in the Americas I haven’t seen traffic from are Cuba and French Guiana; I’m probably going to have to keep waiting for a while on French Guiana but I’m hoping Cuba shows up in the near future as relations between our countries continue to thaw.  Kosovo is still a white spot in Europe, and I’m becoming more and more convinced that the way WP figures out geography actually makes it impossible for traffic in actual-Kosovo to register as being from Kosovo.  Most of the rest of the countries that I haven’t seen traffic from are some combination of dictatorships, theocracies, sparsely populated, or desperately poor.

On to Twitter!  There’s only one graph here, and I’ve fiddled with it a bit to show a bunch of information at once:

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 4.33.12 PMI have, as of this exact second, 3,532 followers on Twitter.  (4,373 on the blog, by the way, but I don’t have a graph for that.)  As you can see, nearly all of those have been this year, and 6/7 of them or so have been in the last six months.  I’ve gone through two big surges where I was trying to aggressively add followers, one at the beginning of the summer and one in the last month or so.  I’ve added fifteen hundred followers in the last four weeks, and I haven’t decided yet if I want this growth spurt to end at 4,000 or 5,000.

The way I’m doing this, by the way, is pretty simple.  I use JustUnfollow’s feature where you can pull followers from other people, to make sure that the pools of folks I’m looking at are probably interested in the same stuff I am.  So I might decide to look at people following, say, Sourcerer’s account.   And I follow 250 or so people.  A couple of days later, I unfollow the ones who haven’t followed back, which JustUnfollow makes easy.  If someone catches my eye who doesn’t follow me back, it has a whitelist feature that will let me keep them so that I don’t accidentally unfollow.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Generally about a third of any given group will follow back if I give them a couple of days.

This method, by the way, makes it essential that you use lists in Twitter, because once you’re following thousands of people your basic feed becomes a firehose that no one can pay attention to other than to catch a sense of what people are talking about.  I have a list called “writers” that I put anyone I want to pay special attention to into; not all of them are writers but I haven’t bothered to change the name of the list.  That’s just over a hundred people right now and is much more manageable; I generally put anyone in it who I interact with more than a couple of times and anyone who I find interesting regardless of whether they interact with me.  Right now if I send out a Tweet it’ll reach 120 people or so if it isn’t RTed by anyone, and I’ve reached a point where most of my tweets will be responded to somehow by someone, which is nice.  Twitter’s more fun if you’re talking to people, obviously.

The Facebook page has 96 Likes.  It’s seen some attention lately, but I have doubts as to whether it’s ever going to have any real numbers– especially since my sporadic attempts to drive attention to it don’t seem to work too well.

I continue to accept any and all friend requests on Goodreads; I have 151 friends currently, which is more than my “real” account has on Facebook, which makes me feel like I’m doing something right.

Later this week, book sales.  How did your blog do in 2014?

Merry Christmas, y’all

IMG_2129Generally, today is the lowest-traffic day of the year, which means I will either not be on much after right now or be posting every ten minutes since you’re not around to be annoyed by it.  We’ll see!

Also, the boy let us sleep in until 8:30 and didn’t notice there were presents under the tree until we pointed it out; I assume that will never happen again.